Nadi taxi driver Vinod Kumar says he "cannot wait" to have his say on who will form the next Fijian government.
The 55-year-old grandfather, whose son Shanil lives and works in Auckland, is "90 per cent sure" he will be voting for Frank Bainimarama and his Fiji First party when the polls open on Wednesday.
"The West just don't understand, they think just because we had a military coup that makes Frank a bad person," Mr Kumar said.
"But life for us ordinary folks has improved so much under him. The roads no longer have potholes, crime is down and more children are going to school because schooling is now free."
He said small things, such as free school buses for students, go a long way because most in Fiji were "generally quite poor".
Mr Kumar said many Fijians were excited at the prospect of voting and election rallies were attracting crowds of thousands.
However, shopkeeper Jaswant Singh, 51, also from Nadi, said he did not believe the election was inclusive of everyone.
"In a democracy it should be one man, one vote, and everybody should be equal," said Mr Singh. "But my 78-year-old mother has been told she cannot vote because she is blind and illiterate and I am not allowed to help her."
Wednesday's vote will be the first since Commodore Frank Bainimarama, seized power in a military coup in 2006.
Fiji is imposing a three-day media blackout until 6pm on Wednesday - breaches carry a fine of $10,000.
A team of New Zealanders, including former deputy prime minister Wyatt Creech, are among a group of international observers in Fiji to monitor the elections for the nation of 880,000.
Voting in Fiji
*Proportional voting system - meaning the proportion of votes a candidate gets would determine their position on the party list and how many seats their party gets in Parliament.
*The ballot papers carry neither the names of candidates nor parties. It comprises a grid of 249 numbers and voters are expected to memorise the number of the candidate they wish to vote for.
*Turnout for pre-polling has been good.
*Media ban from 7.30am today until 6pm Wednesday.